In between time spent zoned out on the couch, I de-Faired the house a bit, restocked my Fair drawer with freshly laundered Fair Swag, and vegged with a Netflix documentary about the questionability of Herbalife.
|For some reason I am always surprised how much fun stuff|
I accumulate during the Fair. Almost all of this now has a
home elsewhere in the house.
I also helped diagnose our molasses internet speed with a nice technician from CenturyLink. Thanks to some replaced connectors and ditching Mircrosoft’s cloud that I didn’t realize I was unnecessarily using, we are now zipping along faster than we ever have here at Woodhaven. Whoo hoo! If only I had thought to have Steve come out before the Fair and soooo many uploaded photos...
|When we first moved to Woodhaven 13 years ago, we had dial up. So|
believe me when I tell you we are super duper excited to be going this fast!
I still haven’t quite put my finger on why I was so emotional last night. Or, well, more emotional than I typically am as my favorite time of the year draws to a close.
Maybe I’m just getting more sentimental in my silver-haired years. Or maybe there’s more to escape from these days so the respite felt that much more escapey (I highly recommend taking a ten-day hiatus from the news. It was quite refreshing. However, re-entry was a bit rocky.)
I do know that this year's Fair felt a bit different. There was a damper on the energy and pulse of the Fairgrounds until the final three days. It was like the volume had been muted. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a fantastic time every day. But it just felt off.
Attendance was super low for a good chunk of the Fair, with one day reportedly only about 30% of what it should have been. Yikes. Vendors were getting worried. And because there wasn’t much else to do, speculations started swirling about who and what might change in the Fair’s front office in the coming weeks or months.
But then something happened.
The temperatures cooled down, the hazy skies cleared, motorsports arrived in the Grandstands, and the people finally came. Apparently Day 9 – the night we saw Tuff Trucks in Grandstands smushed to capacity – was the highest attendance, food sales, and ride sales at the Fair EVER. Day 10 felt record-breaking as well.
Maybe that’s why I cried so much yesterday. It finally felt totally and completely like My Fair, peopled and crowded and noisy. Sort of odd for an introvert to be craving that. But perhpas I love my Fair so much, it makes me sad if there aren’t lots of other people there to enjoy it, too.
Too bad Sleep Number doesn’t make couches
I don’t specifically remember saying this a few years ago but Rob does. Apparently I revealed that I felt sort of lonely and abandoned in our living room each Fairing night typing on my laptop at 2:00, 3:00, sometimes 4:00 in the morning while Rob wisely and appropriately slept in our bedroom.
This year, without announcing or explaining, Rob stayed awake with me most nights until at least 1:00am. I wasn't sure why but I was too focused on writing to ask.
Somewhere around Day 4, he asked if I would still feel lonely if he slept on the couch while I typed in a nearby recliner. A lightbulb went off and my love and appreciation for him deepened even more.
For the rest of the Fair, Rob slept on the couch as I typed away, keeping me company just by his presence. When I was thanking him through tears in the Food Court last night for Fairing with me with such support and fullness, my gratitude covered a lot of ground. Good Lord, I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have him as my husband AND my Fair Buddy.
|Best Fair Buddy EVER!|
You should see what he can do with duct tape
Prior to the Fair starting, I was trying to figure out an easier way to carry my water bottle. I have a holder on a shoulder strap but I was already going to be wearing a back pack; I didn’t want to be strapped down even more.
I mentioned my dilemma to Rob the night before Day 1. A bit later he asked me to hold two fingers out as he placed a plastic straw on them.
“Thanks. I’ll be back.”
If you live with an engineer, you learn pretty quickly not to dwell on or question moments like these. You can almost hear your engineer’s wheels turning and you know a creatively designed solution to your stated problem will reveal itself in due time.
And so it did.
I carried my water around like this the entire Fair. The straw provided some cushioning and the string allow me to hold other things in my hand while still securing my bottle.
|I bought this bottle for the Fair because it had|
a flip cap. Impressively, the cap stayed
attached all 10 days! Granted by only one
hunk of plastic now but still!
As expected, Rob already has some design changes he plans to implement. This year’s Fair was merely the beta test.
A little goes a long way
Several months ago, our pastor spoke about making a concerted effort to notice and thank people who are serving us. People who are cleaning bathrooms or stocking grocery shelves or delivering mail.
Rob and I never talked about it – and still haven’t – but I noticed that we both went out of our way throughout the Fair to speak our appreciation to those around us.
We thanked some teen girls on Day 2 who were hauling huge carts of trash in 95-degree heat.
We told other teens who were wiping down Food Court tables how much we appreciated them keeping things so clean.
We told the Dock Dogs announcer how well he does his job.
We thanked a Fair Board member for serving and helping to create such a rich experience.
We expressed appreciation and wonder for a Fair Court coordinator who did an amazing job keep up with and sometimes ran ahead of the Princesses and Queen.
We rolled down our car window to tell a parking lot attendant we saw every night how much fun she was with her lighted baton dancing to direct traffic.
In each and every case, the people we thanked were caught a bit by surprise. I could almost see them stand a little taller with a spirit that almost literally lifted them up.
It is powerful stuff, encouragement. In every single instance, Rob and I were sincerely speaking our hearts. The only difference was we were actually speaking instead of just thinking. I gotta admit, it was sort of addicting. I highly recommend it.
|Her name is Sherrie and she was a hoot!|
She should totally enter it in a fair somewhere
You may remember that back on Day 1, my friend John who mans the Mt Hood Territory Tourism van boothy thing shared some of his wife’s banana bread with me.
I am not one to turn down food, especially and particularly during Fair. However, if I’m honest, I accepted the small piece mostly to be polite because, well, my great-grandmother’s banana bread recipe is amazing and I’ve never had banana bread that I like better.
As I savored the little hunk of banana bready heaven, I sent up an apology to Great Grandma Edna. Michelle’s recipe is now the one by which I shall measure all future banana breads.
Her bread was fluffier and a touch moister and she rocked my baking world by not greasing and flouring the pan, but greasing and sugaring the pan. What?!?! Yes, little granules of sugar dotted the crust to add some lightly crunchy texture and a tiny hint of extra sweetness.
And speaking of extra sweetness, when John reported back to Michelle my appreciation (obsession?) with her banana bread, she took the time to write out the recipe and send it with John a couple of days later. I was so touched!
Handwritten recipes are rather dear to me. Although I am not much of a cook, I treasure the recipes in my box that are handwritten by other people. The time, the care, the sharing all mean so much to me. I have recipes written by my mom, my grandma, my sister-in-law, dear friends from church, and now Michelle.
As soon as I recover and have some appropriately ripe bananas, I am going to give this recipe a try. I pray I do it justice.
Number of miles walked: 31.9 miles or 76,580 steps over nine days of Fairing. That works out to an average of 3.5 miles or 8,509 steps per day. I’m actually pretty pleased with that and extremely grateful my ACL healed up well from all the physical therapy I forced on it. Just for comparison, today’s mileage as of 7:30pm is 24 steps. Ahhh, Netflix.
Number of miles driven: 309.7 freaking miles. It never occurred to me until this year to factor gas mileage into our Fairing budget. Yikes!
Preferred sunscreen: I am not really a fan of spray sunscreen but I decided to give this stuff from WalMart a try when Consumer Reports rated it as some of the best. I gotta admit, it worked great. I didn’t get any redness and only a little color from 9 full days in the sun. Downsides were I felt like I was coated in a light, tacky glue for a few minutes, and I had to spray myself in the garage to avoid spraying the glue on everything in our bedroom. I won’t wear this stuff daily but for long exposures to the sun, it’s actually some of the best stuff I’ve ever used. Go WalMart?
|With "Sport" in the name, I|
can also pretend I'm athletic
when I use it.
And so I guess that’s it. Fair 2017 is now fully blogged and photographed and now I shall sleep, eat salads, and wait 354 more days until I can do it all over again.
Thank you for joining me, laughing with me, laughing at me, shaking your head in amusement and wonder, and simply for reading. I love my Fair deeply and I love being able to share it. Thank you for whatever time you invested -- minutes or hours -- in letting me tell you all about My Love of Fair.
I will be back in this space again soon sharing whatever non-Fairing life adventures strikes my heart and humor to ramble on about.